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BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at USF - Jeschke Fine Arts

Running through May 7th

BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at USF - Jeschke Fine Arts

University of Sioux Falls' production of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is an adaptation by Simon Stephens of the 2003 Mark Haddon mystery novel of the same name. It is part mystery, and part visual glimpse inside the mind of the protagonist Christopher Boone.

The set is constructed and painted in such a way to create the places and spaces of Christopher's brain with geometric three-dimensional aspects. It's another visually compelling masterwork by Scenic Charge Artist, Brad Lind. The lighting and projections used with ingenuity, create a dynamic visual effect onstage and further the audience's insight of what happens in Christopher's brain. When coupled with the ensemble cast (playing multiple characters each) moving with rhythm and choreographed precision at various intervals representing the places and events in Chris's life; we can see with greater understanding the inner workings of his brain.

Director, Joe Obermueller, has created an environment for experimentation and creativity in this production and the levels and layers of his risks have paid off. This cast is a committed and polished ensemble rise to the challenge. It appeared that the script for this production may have had a lot more stage notes, (italicized and in parentheses notations- for those not familiar with that visual reference) than dialogue lines for the characters. As a director, this is where the real work begins. It can feel like interpreting a foreign language sometimes.

Sam Martin, as Christopher, is never labelled with any particular diagnoses of his unique and sometimes troublesome personality quirks, but appears to fall into the spectrum of high functioning autism, (perhaps Asperger's Syndrome?). He portrays the monotonicity and physical quirks of the syndrome in such a way, that you don't feel that he is acting. Siobhan, the para-professional and mentor to Christopher at school, played by Madeline Fremarek, had a lovely voice to listen to as the narrator of Christopher's book. Her interactions as the teacher to Christopher were also genuinely caring and gentle. I enjoyed her performance immensely. The family / parental dynamics of Ed, played by Elliot Dallman, and Judy, played by Rebecca Cutler were believable in their vocal tones and emotional attachment to Christopher. The ensemble cast, switching roles throughout the play, were all adept at creating the vocal and physical nuances in their various characters.

Ultimately, this show is about the struggles of being an "outsider" in society, the journey that all of us go on to achieve accomplishment, and contentment in the world, and the way relationships change in our lives on that journey. This is a thought-provoking piece of theatre that may have audience members leaving with a greater understanding of those differences, and perhaps, a desire to honor them with greater patience.

Tickets are available online through usiouxfalls.edu or at the door of Jeschke Fine Arts Center at 1101 W 22nd street, on University of Sioux Falls Campus.



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